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First ultrasound...heartbeat or not? Should I be scared?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hi all,


I had my first ultrasound yesterday and according to my LMP, I am about 8 weeks along. The dr. saw everything as it should be...yolk sac, fetal pole, my enlarged uterus, etc. But, she did not detect a heartbeat. She said the baby's measurements appear to be around 6-7 weeks and that it could mean that I'm still a little early to see the heartbeat. I totally don't understand the weeks and how they are calculated. If I'm 8 weeks preg, why is the baby 2 weeks behind? Can someone explain this? She also said to "be guarded and prepared" if this is a non-viable pregnancy, meaning miscarriage obviously.


I am so horrified at the thought of this. I have been totally okay- no spotting or bleeding, cramping, etc. and have had all the normal preg symptoms up to now. Can anyone tell me from your experience if this has happened to you? Should I be worried that she didn't see a heartbeat yet? She told me to come back in 4-5 days to the perinatal center where they have the super high-tech ultrasound machines for another one. She said that if they don't detect the heartbeat that I have miscarried.



post #2 of 26

I went to the doctor at 8 weeks pregnant, calculated from my LMP, and she couldn't hear the heartbeat yet using a doppler stethoscope.  The doctor told me this was normal and not to worry.  I later got to hear it when I went for my next appointment around 13 weeks.  Then when I got my ultrasound at 19 weeks, the doctor said I was actually only 17 weeks.  I talked to a midwife about this and she said that since the first calculation they give you is based on your LMP, it may not actually be correct.  You may have ovulated later that month or something.  So sometimes in ultrasounds, based on measurements they find you aren't as far along as they thought you were.  She also told me that 1st trimester ultrasounds are way more accurate at calculating how far along you are than 2nd trimester ones - so in my situation we are kinda proceeding with a two week window rather than a due date (and of course baby could come two weeks before or after that window).


I think 8 weeks is like right at the point where sometimes you hear the heartbeat and sometimes not, and it is perfectly normal either way.  At least that is what my doctor told me and I can confirm that while we didn't hear it at 8 weeks, everything else has been proceeding normally since then and by 13 weeks it was a super strong and beautiful sound.


There is an increased risk of miscarriage for all women before 12-14 weeks, so I don't know if your doctor was just giving you instructions on what to do in that case just to cover all the bases or if there is an additional reason you are at an even higher risk for miscarriage that you didn't mention.


My sense is that you have nothing more to worry about than any other pregnant woman when it comes to miscarriage since everything else on the ultrasound looked fine and 6-8 weeks might still be to early to hear a heartbeat.  Many doctors are just not very good at measuring how what they say will impact their patients.  But if you want additional reassurance, maybe you could just ask your doctor if she has seen something that makes her think you are at a higher risk of miscarriage than most women or if she was just giving you standard instructions that are given to all women.

post #3 of 26
I don't know how you were tracking or if you were tracking at all. I was a week off according to the measurements and at this point the measurements they take are pretty right on for dating. I would relax, take the docs word for dating and go in for your follow up. I'm sorry this happened though, my first US I should have been able to see baby and all I saw was the yolk sac, it was a relief that at my second US everything was fine. My doctor still told my that I could miscarry. I hope all is okay and I'll be thinking about you.
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thank you, ladies. I am trying to calm myself and stay as positive as I can. Sometimes I think that 'science' can be a detriment to us by having these scans so early on and planting seeds of doubt and worry in our heads when it may not even be necessary. I'm beginning to think they really shouldn't be probing around inside until 12 weeks or later when things should be far enough along to be able to make more concrete statements about things. I realize that as a doctor they feel obligated to be as objective as possible by telling you about miscarriage at every turn during the first trimester, but it does kinda make me mad at the same time. I personally think that if a woman is going to miscarry, then she should should find out through the natural progression of things and her body rather than the friggin doctor telling her 'hey, you might' every step of the way. how about, 'hey, you might just be totally fine." ?!


I go on Friday for the second ultrasound. I would appreciate any prayers on my and the peanut's behalf.




post #5 of 26
I am 33 weeks now but we first heard the heartbeat at 9 weeks. Right before hearing it, the midwife told me firmly not be disappointed if we didn't hear the heartbeat (at 9 weeks) because apparently its very common not to hear it a that time...best of luck to you, little starlet.
post #6 of 26

I haven't heard of hearing the heartbeat before 12 weeks or so (my doctor didn't even try), but OP--you are talking about seeing the heartbeat, not hearing it, right?

At any rate, I second all those who have talked about late ovulation. For example, I often don't ovulate until around CD 21, which would put any pregnancy a week behind an EDD based on LMP. 


Thinking of you--will be looking for updates.

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm talking about seeing it on the ultrasound...not hearing it.
post #8 of 26
Littlestarlet- I didn't want any early ultrasounds and then I had a lot of pain and they did one. They found a subchorionic bleed,it's resolved now but I really didn't need the worry. I do not like this early worry stuff at all. We will certainly be thinking of you.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 

Tomorrow is the dreaded day of the second ultrasound. This week has been absolute hell wondering if the peanut is okay or if I'm going to miscarry. Every time I go to the bathroom, I hold my breath praying not to see blood or anything abnormal. I am so scared to have the US done tomorrow and them not seeing a heartbeat. I will be absolutely devastated. I have done my best to be positive all week, but the doubt and uncertainty have hung over me like a dark cloud. I've read so many stories online of women who've had similar experiences and everything turned out to be totally fine when they went for the follow-up US. And then, I've read horror stories as well. So, I wish I could say I'm facing tomorrow with a sense of empowerment or renewed hope, but it's completely out of my hands and in God's now.


I pray my peanut is okay and they see the heartbeat tomorrow. I have dreamed of being a mother all my life and now, at 40, the dream is within my grasp. Please pray for us.


Thank you,


post #10 of 26

Sending prayers your way for tomorrow.

post #11 of 26
First, let me just say I'm sorry you're going through this stress and uncertainty. I've been there. Since it sounds like you want some explanations, I'll tell you what I know. Please forgive me for sounding technical/clinical, but there is some confusion in earlier replies, so I want to be as clear as I can.

Pregnancy dating is calculated from the first day of your last period (LMP), with the expectation that you have a 28-day cycle and ovulated on day 14. However, many women regularly have cycles 30-35 days long (some even longer), and sometimes stress, illness, or plane travel in the early part of the cycle will delay ovulation by a week or two. Since the process of development can't start until ovulation (which is within a few days of conception), if a woman ovulated late, her pregnancy will appear to be behind the LMP dating.

The next bit of important info is that a heart beat cannot be reliably detected by external Doppler until 12-14 weeks (by LMP where the woman did indeed ovulate on day 14). It is possible to hear it sooner, but can be difficult and is uncommon. However, by transvaginal ultrasound, the heartbeat should be detected right around 6 weeks from LMP (again, ovulation in day 14), and almost certainly by 7 weeks.

In your case, the point of concern is not that the pregnancy measured behind (6-7 weeks instead of 8), as that could be due to late ovulation. The reason you were told to prepare for a possible loss is because according to the pregnancy measurements, you were right around the time when a heartbeat should be detected. But at that stage of pregnancy (6 weeks), a day or two makes a huge difference. Some hearts start beating at 5w6d, some 6w4d, so it's really difficult to tell if the u/s was just a day too early. Hence the repeat u/s 5 days later. They will now be able to see if the appropriate development has taken place in that time. If there has been no development and is still no heartbeat, that would sadly be indicative of a loss.

I hope you get great news tomorrow and will be thinking of you.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much.

post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 

My peanut didn't make it. I am so devastated that I can hardly breathe. I was foolish to believe in any of it.

post #14 of 26

I'm so sorry.  You are not foolish at all.  It's the belief that things will work out that keeps us going and gives us the strength to even try.  Keep the faith.  hug2.gif

post #15 of 26
I am so sorry for your loss. Huge hugs to you. And there is absolutely no reason to feel foolish. I wish you comfort and peace as you go through whatever comes next. Please be gentle with yourself as you heal both emotionally and physically.
post #16 of 26
Originally Posted by littlestarlet View Post

My peanut didn't make it. I am so devastated that I can hardly breathe. I was foolish to believe in any of it.

Littlestarlet - I am so sorry for you and wish I could give you a big IRL hug. The next few weeks will probably pass in a blur, and you will be no stranger to grief. I would like to suggest some things for you:


First: We have a pregnancy loss forum here where there are so many of us who have been where you are, and know what you are feeling.


Second: Take all the time you need to regroup yourself. There are the not-so-talked about next steps your body will start preparing for, and you are going to need to rest and stay hydrated.

Surround yourself IRL with as many supportive people as you can for as your emotional and physical world begin to change, you're going to need a rock. People, your faith, a message board...Whatever you can take, take.

Hormonally you are going to be bouncing around, and this is going to be compounded by the grief you are feeling. Try to recognize that- while allowing yourself to grieve is healthy, normal, human -  giving up hope today is giving up hope on a future peanut meant just for your arms.


Hang in there...


One of the most 'real' quotes I ever ran across was this:


“We are grieving, We are not contagious, We are not sad all the time, We laugh, We smile, We cry, We weep for being happy, We live, We talk, We feel, We come from every background, We are sad, we lost a baby, We are…” -Jennifer Davis

You will be forever this angel baby's mama. hug2.gif

post #17 of 26

I'm so, so sorry. When I learned that I had a molar pregnancy, I also had the reaction of feeling foolish. I still remember the doctor looking at the ultrasound and saying it wasn't viable, and how completely blindsided I felt. It is such a painful feeling, and you are not foolish at all. 


A book that really helped me was a collection of essays about miscarriage, called About What Was Lost. I don't mean to be presumptive, but when you feel ready, maybe it would help process to read the experiences of other people who came through a miscarriage?


Try to go easy on yourself. Thinking of you.

post #18 of 26
I almost never log in here any more, but I wanted to say I'm so sorry. I don't want to give you false hope, but I wouldn't do anything if they offer at this point. Another mama I knew had a really similar situation just happen to her. They told her a week after they couldn't find a hb that the sac was collapsing and she should have a d&c . She chose not to and was waiting it out. She finally went back three weeks later when she had nothing happen and they found a 10 week old baby with a hb on the u/s. I hope no matter what you have peace and you will be in my thoughts.
post #19 of 26
I would also like to offer my condolences for your loss!!! I am new to this forum, and have also suffered a miscarriage at 10w6d, baby likely stopped developing at 8wks. Please take some time to heal, cry, vent, throw a pillow, meditate/pray or just affirm yourself! A miscarriage I think is the hardest thing a woman can go through honestly.

I have also recently discovered that I am again pregnant, and had my first vag and transvag ultra yesterday. We were able to see a healthy round sac, fetus, and heartbeat. When I heard the heartbeat I just knew it was low... and the dr said it registered at 88bpm. I think that because we are so early in the game, everythings so up in the air, you're not showing but inside you feel the changes and you know you're pregnant. When you said "I was foolish to believe in any of it" man! do I know that feeling. Hoping and wishing just for it to be all dashed away. It took 4 weeks for my body to recognize the pregnancy had failed and for me to go through the trauma of passing what was once alive. IT IS THE HARDEST THING, PLEASE DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF!!!! I hooe that
post #20 of 26

I hope that you find peace. I am personally still hirt from my miscarriage and to know that the babys heart rate is low this go round makes it Sooooooooo hard to stay positive I just automatically feel like its gonna be another mc. i dont want to believe it and get all happy to have ro fo through another 5months of really dark sadness.

may 31st, I measured 6 weeks and 88bpm. I will go again this friday jun7th, I hope the beans heart pumps pumps pumps right on up.
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